Incentive Theories and Motivation

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Drive reduction theories propose that humans are motivated to maintain homeostasis within certain drives like hunger, thirst and sexual frustration. However, if we didn't supplement drive reduction theories with incentive theories we would have to assume that people never intentionally engage in behaviors when their drives are satisfied, and that would be incorrect, people frequently are motivated to extend beyond homeostasis by pursuit of positive goals. An example given in the textbook examines the work of great minds like Picasso, Maya Angelou and Mozart, asserting that if we applied only drive reduction theories to their work after they finished a masterpiece they would have less desire to create another. This we can tell is not the case; Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, which he built upon for many years to reach the groundbreaking cubist movement and then in '37 he painted Guernica, arguably his greatest and most famous piece. What I am interested in are the two types of motivation responsible for Incentive theories: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation.
As a senior and art major at the U, I have taken nearly every type of art class, because I eventually want to teach art, so it's important that I have a little bit of experience with every kind of art form. This year I was confronted with the fact that I still needed to take ceramics, my least favorite type of art. I figured that I just didn't like it because I didn't have very much experience with it and within a couple weeks of the class it would grow on me. That's how it went with photography, which I slowly grew to love. Ceramics has proven to be different, I still really hate it, even more than I thought I would in the first place. I persist because I want to pass the class and I need to have experience if I want to get into a teacher licensure program for art. These criteria are both motivated by external goals or from extrinsic motivation. If I was making the work in ceramics based more on internal goals, like trying to use it to express a bigger idea or artistic theory I have, it would be intrinsic motivation. So which form of motivation is better? I think both are necessary. Not all people have type A personalities, so sometimes a little extrinsic motivation is necessary to prompt later intrinsic motivation. Class assignments are good starting points so that we don't feel so overwhelmed by an entropic world with endless ideas and possibilities. My frustration with ceramics is that there are way too many goals created by extrinsic motivation. My teacher piles assignment on top of assignment so I have to think quickly and therefore I'm only concerned only with whether or not I can get the assignment finished, I give no thought towards what kind of meaning the piece has to me. So when the ceramic piece is finished and glazed it offers nothing to me except a grade. I don't think that's how art classes should be, but there are a number of definitions for what constitutes as art, and perhaps one could go as far as to claim that just because all of these feelings and motivations or lack thereof motivations were poured into a piece, that that is what makes the piece significant. What I do know is that once the class has ended I will not be satisfied and I will pursue ceramics again out of an unfulfilled drive of intrinsic goals that I never got to sort out within the scope of this semester.

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This page contains a single entry by coste087 published on November 20, 2011 11:01 PM.

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